If the product or service that your company offers meets certain “certification” standards that you believe would be of interest to your customers, you may be able to use what’s known as a “Certification Mark” to showcase this distinction.
A Certification Mark is not the same as a registered trademark. A trademark helps to point consumers to the source of a product or service. Let’s use, for example, a fictitious solar panel company, ABC Solar. ABC Solar is a trademarked name; anyone who buys solar panels with the ABC Solar logo can feel confident that they know the sourcing and manufacturer of the product.
Now, if ABC Solar wanted to attain a Certification Mark the situation may include the company developing a new solar panel that meets energy-efficient standards set forth by the EPA at which point ABC Solar would want to advertise on its packaging that it has met these requirements in an effort influence the buying decisions of people who may be comparing their brand with others. To achieve this goal, ABC Solar may choose to use a Certification Mark such as the Energy Star Certification Mark offered by the EPA on their packaging.
This Certification Mark is not pointing to the source of the product, but rather demonstrating that the company has met the quality standards required to be considered energy efficient by the government.
A Certification Mark can also be used to distinguish that a product comes from certain geographic regions, like the Champagne region of France for wine products, or to demonstrate that a product is free of unwanted components, like those that display a Non-GMO Certified or Certified Gluten-Free label.
In most cases, the owner of any given Certification Mark will lay out the standards required for certification and who may ultimate use their mark. Requirements for use may include instructions for how to display the mark on packaging, in marketing materials, what sizes and colors must be used when displaying the mark, etc.
The USPTO also has a process for applying for certification marks that can be followed here.
Creating your own certification standard can be a way to add a new revenue stream to your business. In order for others to become certified under your standard and display your certification mark they may need to take certification classes from you, use (or not use) certain components in their products, submit their product to your testing standards, among other requirements. Each of these steps for certification can be used to create new revenue streams and add value to your business.
If you have questions about using a certification mark to demonstrate that your goods or services meet certain standards, feel free to contact our intellectual property attorneys at 888-666-0062 to schedule a consultation.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.
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